Australia was Indonesia's 13th-largest export destination in 2018, with the total value of shipments having increased 12 percent to $2.8 billion. (Antara Photo/Aprillio Akbar)

Indonesia, Australia Agree to Speed Up Ratification of Bilateral Trade Deal

BY :EVA FITRIANI

NOVEMBER 04, 2019

Jakarta. Indonesia and Australia are committed to speeding up the ratification of a bilateral free-trade agreement signed early this year, a minister said.

The Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) was signed on March 4 to boost trade and investment between the two countries. 

Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto said he met with his Australian counterpart, Simon John Birmingham, on the sidelines of the 35th Asean Summit in Bangkok on Saturday.

Agus said he told Birmingham that he would intensify communication with the House of Representatives to ensure that the ratification process is completed soon.

He said Birmingham had told him in turn that the agreement had been submitted to the Australian Senate for ratification. 

The two countries hope to have the agreement ratified by their respective governments by the end of November, or early December at the latest.

The two ministers also discussed an increase in the quotas for working and holiday visas. 

"To increase the utilization of the IA-CEPA, particularly for businesses, we agreed to strengthen cooperation in developing markets and encouraging businesspeople from both countries to visit each other to conduct business assessments in trading cities," Agus said in a statement on Monday.

Indonesia's total trade with Australia amounted to $8.5 billion last year, while total trade between the two countries reached $3.6 billion between January and June this year.

Australia was Indonesia's 13th-largest export destination in 2018, with the total value of shipments having increased 12 percent to $2.8 billion.

Australia was Indonesia's eighth-largest source of imports, at $5.8 billion last year, having decreased 3 percent from 2017.

Indonesia mainly exported wood ($125 million), tires ($61 million), television receivers ($52 million), footwear ($52 million) and plywood ($45 million) to Australia in 2018.

The country's main imports from Australia last year were wheat and meslin ($1.2 billion), cattle ($522 million), coal ($417 million), sugar cane ($293 million) and iron ore ($264 million).

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